Opening thought: Obedience accompanies confession

Let us consider this often visited passage: Ephesians 2:8-10

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

2 Corinthians 9:1-16

9 There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord’s people. 2 For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give;

  • They were (Eager) to help and give to the work.

and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.

Enthusiasm leads to Action

  • They were (enthusiastic) about the work…and they gave themselves to it.

Enthusiasm defined: intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval.

Synonyms include eagerness, keenness, ardor, fervor, warmth, passion, zeal, zealousness, zest, gusto, brio, pep, go, sap, liveliness, vivacity, vivaciousness, energy, verve, vigor, dynamism, vehemence, fire, excitement, exuberance, ebullience, spirit, avidity, avidness.

Isaiah 43:19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

2 Cor 9 cont’d: 3 But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4 For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.

  • They were (Encouraged) to be (ready) and generous in the work. 

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And (God is able to bless you abundantly)…

We repeated this a few times in service to drive it home. In all things, at all times, all that you need so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.

Matthew 9:35-38 35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

  • They were (enriched) in every way …for the work.

James 1:16-17 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

11 You will be enriched in every way (so that you can be generous) on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many (expressions of thanks to God.)

  • Their work was an (expression) of thanksgiving to God.

Colossians 3:23-24 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for (the obedience that accompanies your confession) of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

1 Corinthians 15:58

NIV: Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

NLT: So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

Here is this week’s bulletin.